1. There is no way to deny the cultural shock caused by the 2020 Minneapolis uprising against police brutality. It was felt throughout the cultural landscape and in particular in the dance music industry, with an increased focus on featuring Black artists in the press.
2. The increased awareness for the Black struggle within the context of the dance music industry has not translated into structural changes throughout the industry. Instead, we are faced with the rise of very performative representation politics, joined with a structural form of idolatry of DJs which trumps the interests of club workers.
3. A technomaterialist is a person who takes a critical interest in technologies and thinks about technology as an activist tool whilst attempting to confront a contemporary reality in an attempt to articulate a radical (gender/intersectional) politics fit for an era of globality, complexity, and technology.
4. The use of the adjective "materialist" envisions that historical events are determined not by abstract concepts, but by tangible social relations. That social progress is driven by the ever-evolving material forces of production (the combination of human labor and its technical means), and by the perceptions of those changes by humans (social relations of production).
5. Technomaterialists seek to foreground the more obviously material elements of (inter)action in contemporary mediated cultures and highlight the fallacy of solutionism. Solutionism refers to the idea that the use of technologies is the royal road to fixing social problems, and that one can therefore get richer while making the world a better place.
6. The Blockchain ecosystem, for example, does not offer a direct solution regarding the discriminatory behaviour of club programmers, or the music industry as a whole. On the contrary, it can create even more problems when it is associated with a purely anti-political view in a world anchored in white supremacy.
7. With the example of nightlife and the music industry, the solution cannot just be to add a new layer of tech. It is pretty transparent that there is a lack of interest to go beyond representation (in magazine covers and so on), which does not translate into structural change. Liberal tools are ill equipped to address this problem.
8. Technologies should be re-engineered to directly benefit society, not to propagate existing forms of oppressions. We call on feminist & anti-racist technologists to build tools to protect humans from oppression and also to build new freedoms (“freedom to” rather than simply “freedom from”).
9. The aftermath of the 2020 Minneapolis protests led to a racial reckoning which was not really one. Liberal hegemony in the political landscape has led to a reinforcement of representation politics, which favor feckless and anecdotal representation of
marginalized groups over an improvement of their material conditions, which would necessarily pass by actual systemic change. White-owned talent agencies using the likeness of Black artists and tokenizing them to show how progressive they are, all while holding a monopoly of the means of production, is not liberatory.
10. DJ Mag’s top 100 DJS featured 20 people of minoritized background in 2022 versus 8 in 2021 (source IMS business report 2022). This did not translate in the improvement of the material life conditions of black DJs as illustrated in our study Black dance music without Black people: a data analysis. For example in France the number of Black artists booked were as follows: 216 in 2019, 61 in 2020, 47 in 2021. Not only are Black artists getting deposed of their music via uncredited sampling, but it also translates materially into a lack of bookings.
11. There have been no practical discussions around how to combat artists’ foreboding poverty. This poverty is linked to the crisis of social reproduction and care, often associated to phrases as “time poverty” and “work life balance” which refers to the pressure from different directions that are squeezing a key set of social capacities, that we experienced in our advanced capitalist society whether we are artists or not and that the COVID-19 sanitary crisis amplified.
12. Without material capacities available for caring for friends and family members, birthing and raising children, accessing housing, maintaining households and broad communities, sustaining connection, both affective and material labor are often performed without pay, in spite of being indispensable to society. Without it there could be no culture, no economy, no political organization. This social reproduction crisis is a crisis for the performing arts.
13. The concentration of creative spaces in large urban areas (such as Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Berlin) creates a structural overflow of the employment pool, specific to a production system in permanent search of flexibility — translated by a pool of malleable creatives who are concentrated in metropolises with atrociously high rent, and who fight for limited job opportunities. This is one of the reasons why the (dance) music industry is unsustainable.
14. The dance music culture lobby plays into the commodification of radical struggles and encourages hyper-capitalist processes such as gentrification. Organizations which are meant to support the night life such as the Berlin Club Commission not only fail to challenge landlordism and predatory real estate organizations, they play in the hands of property owners. This is the dangerous game of liberalism.
15. Present-day culture, social relations, cityscapes, modes of production, agriculture, and transportation have reshaped what was called the proletariat into a largely petty-bourgeois stratum whose mentality is marked by its own bourgeois utopianism of consumption for the sake of consumption. Until activism takes this into account, we are bound to fail over and over.
16. The ecological crisis is not taken seriously by the music industry. The discussion is often being limited about carbon emission discourse. The very concept of "carbon footprint" was conceived in the early 2000s by the American communications agency Ogilvy & Mather, hired by British Petroleum (BP), one of the world's largest oil companies, to promote the idea that climate chaos is not the fault of companies, but of consumers. This just goes to show how deeply unserious the music industry is about ecology.
17. A wave of social struggles has exploded around the world. In this crisis accelerated by the pandemic, workers are fighting to keep their basic amenities and struggling over their rents, their cost of living, and the state of transportation and education. The dance music industry should be plainly a part of it, knowing its responsibility regarding the gentrification of impoverished neighborhoods.
18. Between 1970 and 1980, in the United States, France and Canada, the decline in income was greater for artists than for other categories of workers. At the same time, the number of registered professional artists rose sharply at an annual rate of over 4%. (Source: Tom Bradshaw, “ an examination of the Comparability of 1970 and 1980 Census Statistics on Artists — Grail Graser “ Manpower and the arts”) A 2016 census established that the median individual income of Canada’s artists is 44% less than all Canadian workers. This phenomenon can be found everywhere in the West, and it is particularly striking in the music industry and the music press.
19. The Panic! 2018 – It’s an Arts Emergency!’s study found that the percentage of people working in publishing with working-class origins was given as 12.6%. In film, TV and radio it was 12.4%, and in music, performing and visual arts, 18.2%. A report of the Institute of Education found that in 1990, journalists came from families only 6% richer than average. Today, they are from families 42% better off. This translates in a total hegemony of bourgeois ideals in culture.
20. The Technomaterialism collective positions itself as a counter-attack against the cultural hegemony of the bourgeoisie in dance music.